Secretary Clinton on the Assassination of Afghanistan High Peace Council Head Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani
The United States condemns in the strongest terms the assassination in Kabul of Professor Rabbani, the former President of Afghanistan and head of the High Peace Council. We extend our condolences to his family, and to all the people of Afghanistan, including those who were injured, and the families of those who lost their lives.
We will support the Afghan Government as they pursue the ones responsible for this cowardly attack and bring them to justice. And we will continue to increase pressure on al-Qaida and the Taliban. We have always known that there are those who will do all they can to undermine the cause of peace and reconciliation. We will see more violence before this is over. But the Afghan people will not be deterred from pursuing a more peaceful, democratic future for their country and we will continue to stand with them and support their efforts.
I am deeply saddened by the assassination of Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti today in Islamabad, and condemn in the strongest possible terms this horrific act of violence. We offer our profound condolences to his family, loved ones and all who knew and worked with him. Minister Bhatti fought for and sacrificed his life for the universal values that Pakistanis, Americans and people around the world hold dear – the right to speak one’s mind, to practice one’s religion as one chooses, and to be free from discrimination based on one’s background or beliefs. He was clear-eyed about the risks of speaking out, and, despite innumerable death threats, he insisted he had a duty to his fellow Pakistanis to defend equal rights and tolerance from those who preach division, hate, and violence. He most courageously challenged the blasphemy laws of Pakistan under which individuals have been prosecuted for speaking their minds or practicing their own faiths. Those who committed this crime should be brought to justice, and those who share Mr. Bhatti’s vision of tolerance and religious freedom must be able to live free from fear. Minister Bhatti will be missed by all who knew him, and the United States will continue to stand with those who are dedicated to his vision of tolerance and dignity for all human beings.
Secretary Clinton: Press Statement on Assassination of Pakistan Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
I am shocked and outraged by the assassination today of Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti. This was an attack not only on one man, but on the values of tolerance and respect for people of all faiths and backgrounds championed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founding father.
I recently had the opportunity to meet Minister Bhatti. He was a patriot and a man of courage and conviction. He cared deeply for Pakistan and dedicated his life to helping the least among us on Earth. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and friends.
The United States remains committed to working with the government and people of Pakistan to build a more stable and prosperous future for all — a future in which violent extremists are no longer able to silence the voices of tolerance and peace.